West Ham manager describes Premier League as most difficult; highlights Aston Villa struggles as evidence

Slaven Bilic

West Ham United finished the season in seventh place and could still gain entry to the Europa League if Manchester United win the FA Cup.

In an exclusive interview with French sports publication L'Équipe, West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic pointed to Aston Villa as a perfect example of what can happen at a club if you are not careful.

The Hammers have enjoyed a fantastic campaign in their final season at Upton Park, despite their final day loss at Stoke City allowing Southampton to leap-frog them in the table, and Bilic explained the importance of staying grounded, highlighting the Midlands club as an example of what can happen.

"I never said it was easy in the Premier League," the Hammers boss said. "You only need to look at what happened to Aston Villa. The Premier League is probably the most difficult league."

Bilic has received praise for his style of play from pundits and fans alike, while being acclaimed for some astute signings over the summer, including the majestic Dimitri Payet.

The Frenchman has taken the Premier League by storm and the Hammers boss compared him to some of the Villans French contingent, stating that West Ham's stability has allowed Payet to flourish, while Villa's troubles have had the opposite effect on their stars.

"I’m convinced he’s a very good player," he said. "Same for the French players who signed at Aston Villa. Jordan Ayew, and especially Idrissa Gueye. The problem is that they signed in big clubs who were already in a bad way."

Much will be expected of West Ham next season, as their impending move to the Olympic Stadium has coincided with the club being linked to a whole host of world stars. The challenge for Bilic will be to strengthen his already impressive squad, while not upsetting the bond held among the current crop of players.

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